Two New Road Signs To Be Introduced In Lebanon

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CKVpN8TUsAAc-e3 Poster done by Bob Kastoun from Ma3roof

If you spot the first sign, quickly take ur right and let whomever is behind you pass, otherwise you might get beaten up or even stabbed to death. As for the second sign, it will deployed in the next phase of the new traffic law to help drivers avoid specific potholes that were listed as historic sites and are being preserved by the concerned ministries and Goodwill Ambassador Zein el Atat.


Ten Things The Telegraph Didn’t Know About Lebanon

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leb via LiveLoveBeirut

It’s not always a good thing when Lebanon is promoted as a touristic destination by international media as the way they perceive things is sometimes highly inaccurate. Of course you can’t really blame them because of the current situation on the borders and in neighboring countries but it wouldn’t hurt to double check on some facts before publishing them.

I just finished reading an article recently published by the Telegraph on Beirut entitled “War is a million miles away when the Lebanese begin to party” and here are ten things they got completely wrong. The first two are related to the outdated pictures they used, while the rest is from the article itself.

chris A Lebanese Christian woman partying after recent elections

1- The last elections took place on June 7, 2009 which is more than 6 years ago and a “Christian woman” drinking champagne after results were announced is not really how we party in Beirut.

diningg Dining out in Beirut’s rebuilt downtown area (Photo: Alamy)

2- I don’t remember the last time I saw people dining in that area of Beirut. I think it goes back to 2003 or 2004. Whomever wrote this article obviously hasn’t visited Beirut in a long time.

Standing on picnic tables, skinny girls in hot pants and crop-tops gyrated to thumping beats, upending bottles of vodka into the mouths of the bare-chested men dancing beside them. An open-top car, Christian Louboutin shoes and a full-time, live-in maid to look after one’s children are all must-have accessories.

3- Are they referring to Rikkyz here? If not where is this place in the Lebanese mountains with skinny girls in hot pants and bare-chested men? I had no clue Rikkyz was for fancy people only.

Beauty is paramount: parents are known to book nose jobs as a birthday presents for their teenage children, and the youngsters wear their stitches proudly, as badges of honour. The average cost of a birthday party among this elite, one event organiser tells me, is $200,000. A wedding is $300,000.

4- Nose jobs for teenage children? Wear their stitches as a badge of honor? Really? And birthday parties for $200,000? Are we talking about Lebanon here? Plastic surgery is quite common in Lebanon but people tend to be discreet about it as far as I know.

It is said that most of the country’s big spenders sustain their lifestyles using bank loans they cannot obviously repay. The phenomenon is often explained as a consequence of the civil war.

5- Bank loans for $200,000 to hold a birthday party and get a nose job? Lebanese families who organize such parties don’t need bank loans. They probably own banks themselves. Moreover, the phenomenon is not a consequence of the civil war as most people tend to overspend on their credit cards. This is a universal problem for all credit card holders.

Society remains divided. Most Lebanese put sect before country. Beirut is a patchwork of separate cantons (in Christian Ashrafieh, the women wear miniskirts, while 10 minutes’ walk east, in the mostly Shia district of Basta, the prevailing fashion is the hijab).

6- Shia District of Basta? Isn’t Basta a traditionally Sunnite area?

The communities rarely interact.

7- That’s true. Christians rarely talk to Muslims and we rarely hang out at the same places. Yesterday I went to Verdun and I was a bit worried that Muslims on camels might attack me there, but then I spotted Christians wearing gold chain necklaces with a cross on it and I felt safe again.

Rushing through the city’s Armenian quarter one night, on my way to the chic downtown district, I was stopped by an elderly man who warned me not to go on. “There are Muslims there,” he cautioned.

8- The Muslims are coming. Beware lol!

A Lebanese businessman told me recently how he had struggled to persuade a British colleague to come to Beirut. For years she refused to visit, until it became a necessity for her work. Convinced she was flying into a war zone, her hands shook with fear as she checked in at Heathrow. On the plane she broke into floods of tears.

9- This passage is quite insulting to the whole British community and to British Ambassador Tom Fletcher. Is it so hard for this young woman to check the British Embassy’s website and understand what’s happening in Lebanon. Ironically enough, the UK travel advice to Lebanon is one of the most detailed and accurate ones.

For now, sadly, even at the magnificent Greco-Roman temples of Baalbek, the tourist touts sit together at a coffee table by the empty ticket hall. A camel, dressed up to the nines, with an embroidered doily resting between its ears and an elaborately carved wooden saddle on his back, waits under a tree, desolately swatting flies with its tail. The businessman’s friend may well have been their last customer.

10- The Baalbeck International Festival is the oldest and most prestigious cultural event in the Middle East and is visited by thousands every year. Last year, the festivals were relocated due to the situation in Syria but they are back this year. Moreover, Baalbeck is almost one of the most impressive and most visited sites in Lebanon.

The only thing that the Telegraph goes right was that the “biggest risk to foreigners in Lebanon is a thick waistline and a stinking hangover”. Here’s a [link] to the full article.

PS: If you’re coming to Lebanon this summer, here’s a list of fun things to do.

Week33: LiveLoveBeirut’s Best Pictures Of The Week

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Barook Barouk Cedars – by Sarah

You can follow LiveLoveBeirut on Instagram on [Instagram]. I’m also on Instagram and you can follow me [here] if you like.

Jounieh festival Jounieh Festival – by RiseAboveLebanon

Harissa Harissa – by Eliasouba

Gazl Le marchand de bonheur – by

Cedars1 Eternal gardens – by Eli.youssef

Baakline Baakline waterfalls

Afqa Afka – by Gilbert Geagea

HMA Tom Fletcher Bids Farewell To Lebanon By Walking From Batroun To Beirut

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HMA Tom Fletcher is touring the country and promoting Lebanon as a touristic destination on his final days as the British Ambassador. Fletcher had lemonade in Batroun, then walked all the way from Batroun to Jbeil where he visited the souks and met the locals. On the second day, he went to Harissa and wore the traditional Lebanese costume during a dinner ceremony held in his honor. Later on, he visited the Jounieh souks, walked all the way to Nahr el Kalb where he visited the different monuments, passed by Beirut’s port to show support to the Lebanese economy before reaching his final destination at Martyrs Square in Beirut.


HMA Tom Fletcher may no longer be an ambassador to Lebanon but he’s from now an ambassador for Lebanon and he’s a perfect fit for the job. We thank you for showing the true image of Lebanon and being the best diplomat Lebanon has had in years!


Zahle Teta “Yi K*** Em Hal Kahraba Chou Bitdall Ma2tou3a bi Beirut!”

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Zahle residents have every right to brag about their achievement as they now have 24/7 electricity and water and have sorted out their garbage issues as well. More importantly, they managed to confront generator owners and the mafias behind them and keep them away from the city.

I wish Jounieh officials (and other major cities for that sake) would learn a thing or two from Zahle and come up with a plan to provide electricity to its residents and stop the Zouk power-plant pollution instead of hanging polluting posters and holding useless press conferences.


Death Penalty Is Wrong, Wrong, Wrong!

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Tareq Yatim is a cold-blooded murderer and a horrible human being but death penalty is not the way he should be punished and we need to stop cheering for capital punishment every time an innocent person is killed. Taking away someone’s life should never be an option and the Lebanese society needs to stop promoting it as a quick fix solution. There are better alternatives like being jailed for life without parole. I understand that there’s corruption in this country and some criminals are walking out free but that’s not an excuse to keep pushing for capital punishment.

Killing Tareq won’t bring George back to his family and sentencing him to death may not be as swift as people think it is as the process takes time and might involve several trials and hearings and needs the (non-existing) president’s approval. More importantly, and given how corrupt our system is, applying the death penalty can be arbitrary and politicized (in other crimes) and you can’t undo a mistake once you discover a man has been executed for a crime he did not commit. I know everyone is angry and pissed off at what happened but there are many ways to support and comfort George’s family like raising funds to help the family for example.

Let’s not forget Walid el Mohtar was also killed but by mistake on that same day. Should we sentence his killers to death as well? Why isn’t anyone doing so? We all mock and criticize Saudi Arabia and Iran for executing prisoners every year yet this is the first thing we ask for when someone is killed. Capital punishment has never worked, has never stopped criminals like Yatim and goes against almost every religion and code of ethics out there.


In Pictures: Eid Mubarak From Lebanon And The Arab World

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65073 A man makes meat pastries ahead of the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of Ramadan in Sidon, south Lebanon [REUTERS]

I was checking out Eid Festivities in the Arab World and I compiled some of the best pictures from this year and the past one. The first few pictures are from Lebanon and the rest are from different Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Palestine, Iraq and others.

Sources used: [Telegraph], [],[] and [TheNational].

Happy Eid Everyone!

11174385_10152861739571809_9088207280319816124_o Yearly flying lanterns tradition in Tripoli, Lebanon – by Natheer Halawani

65072 Residents walk past traditional sweets displayed for sale ahead of Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of Ramadan in Sidon [REUTERS]

eid-9_2989067k A Lebanese child rides a camel during celebrations marking the beginning of Eid al-Fitr, Beirut, Lebanon Picture: EPA

eid-20_2989047k A vendor sells biscuits during Eid al-Fitr in the port city of Sidon, southern Lebanon Picture: REUTERS

eid-al-fitr-lebano_3378928k Lebanese Prime Minister Tamam Salam attends the Eid al-Fitr prayer at the Mohammad al-Amin Mosque in downtown Beirut Picture: ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty Images

52005619 Ramadan in DownTown Beirut – by Nabil Mounzer

And here are pictures from different Arab countries:

65049 Aerial view shows Muslim worshippers at the Grand mosque, the holiest place in Islam, in Mecca during Ramadan [REUTERS]
Continue reading

Justice For Georges Al-Rif And Then What?

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Update: There’s an online campaign to help support George’s family financially. You can help out [here].

George Al-Rif is a 45 year old man who got into a dispute over right of way on the airport road and was chasing the car that hit him to report it to the police. Unfortunately, as soon as they got to Achrafieh, the other driver, a guy called Tareq Yatim, went down and started beating and stabbing George. George was critically injured before dying of his wounds in the hospital. The victim had four children. A video emerged showing the attack and the least I can say is that it’s quite shocking. Yatim, who was arrested later on and confessed to the attack, just stood there beating and stabbing the guy in broad daylight in the middle of the street.

What’s even more shocking is that the murderer did not hesitate to kill his victim over the silliest of disputes, and what some media reports stated that “he was under the influence of drugs” is quite pathetic and misleading. Nothing justifies stabbing and killing a man like that and the sad part is that there are tons of people like Yatim out there who are “well protected” and would kill or assault other people over the silliest of reasons.

This is exactly why I don’t get into a fight with anyone on the road because there are sickos out there waiting for a chance to empty their gun or use their knife. Sadly enough, staying away from fights could also get you killed in Lebanon, just like Walid el Mohtar, a Lebanese who was shot dead by mistake yesterday just because he was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

This is the jungle we live in and the worst thing we could possibly do is turn it into a religious matter because people like Yatim are animals on the loose and know no religion or law. Only few days ago, some website was bragging about two young Lebanese “Christians” beating a Lebanese “Shiite” in broad daylight because he insulted the cross at the heart of Jounieh. Gladly the incident was a minor one but I thought the way the story was reported was terrible and that we should not incite to violence or sectarianism under any circumstances. As long as we are capable of containing the situation and calling the cops to do their job, we should avoid resorting to violence.

George Al-Rif and Walid el Mohtar unfortunately died and no amount of justice will bring them back to their family. I just hope that their killers will rot in jail and won’t be able to get out anytime soon because of the “wastas”. Until then, I ask you to stay away from fights and avoid any kind of dispute on the road or on the street because you might end up facing a cold-blooded killer like Yatim. Some people might say that keeping a gun or a knife in your car is a must in this country, I say that it makes things even worse for everyone. Keep your weapons at home and stay away from fights on the street. If you ever face someone like Yatim, run him over or just drive away and if he’s chasing you down, drive to the nearest police station, that’s what I would do.


A Lebanese University Graduate Begging For Money In His Graduation Gown

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Amir Fakih, a newly grad from NDU, decided to raise awareness on youth unemployment in Lebanon by wearing his university gown and roaming the street begging for money, working as an Arguile guy and selling flowers. The idea was to portray the possible future careers of a Lebanese graduate given the lack of jobs and that the Lebanese economy is in very bad state.

Needless to say, there’s nothing wrong with any job out there but you’d expect to land a better job when you spend years and thousands of dollars to earn a decent university degree. I don’t know much about the unemployment rates in Lebanon as there are no clear studies but the real problem lies in the guidance being offered by the government (if any) and the different educational institutions. Ideally, the Lebanese Ministry of Labor should provide studies on career opening by industry to help students choose majors that could help them secure a job once they graduate.

In all cases, I don’t know what Amir majored in but he seems to be good in marketing himself and I hope he gets the job he wants sometime soon.



Things To Do During The Summer In Lebanon [2015]

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If you’re coming to Lebanon this weekend for Eid then below is my personal recommendation list:

La Creperie Jounieh

For those of you who don’t know La Creperie yet, it’s is one of Lebanon’s most authentic and beautiful restaurants and has been serving great food since 1968. The restaurant is an 18th Century Picturesque Ottoman House that offers a breathtaking view across the Jounieh bay. An ideal place for a late afternoon meal, sunset drinksor a Sunday family lunch. More details [Here].

Ice Pop Thursdays And Apero Electro Sundays at Garden State, Sin el Fil
One of the hottest outdoor venues this summer in Beirut holding a different theme on a daily basis. Thursday is the busiest with pop music from the 80s and 90s, Sundays are chill out Apero Electro with live cooking. Wednesday is a dog-friendly day where everyone can bring his dog. More details [here].

Sunset drinks at the Roof Beirut
20150620_220536 The highest rooftop in town with a breathtaking view. Enjoy sunset drinks and asian tapas after 7pm. More details [here].

Sunset drinks and Party at Iris
IMG-20150714-WA0025 Iris is on top of Annahar building at the heart of Beirut. A great place to chill after work or party on the weekend.

Beer & BBQ at Colonel Beer in Batroun
11116496_737983636318990_5851448405667330130_n A local microbrewery and restaurant located in the heart of Batroun. Colonel Beer is only few meters away from the beach and you can enjoy BBQs, freshly brewed beer, local artists and a great atmosphere. More info [here].

80s and 90s night at B018

80s night on Thursdays, 90s night on Sundays. Not to be missed!

10423778_10155724286880497_6466679938427665403_n An open-air pub overlooking Beirut. Capitole never gets old.

Burgers at Smoking Bun

Best street burger in Beirut. More info [here].

Ice Cream at Helado

My favorite icecream shop in Lebanon. The flavors are quite original and delicious. There’s Baileys, Whiskey, Green Apple, Fig, Lotus, Oreo and others. Make sure you drop by on your way back from the beach.

Weekend Escape At the Taanayel Ecolodge
IMG-20150714-WA0006 A traditional village located in the heart of the Bekaa. A great place to walk around and enjoy nature, have great food at Al Khan Al Makssoud and have fun with the various outdoor activities. More details [here].

Karting at RPM Lebanon:

RPM (Racing Park Mtein) is the newest and hottest karting circuit in Lebanon. It’s a long drive from Beirut (1 hour or more) but it’s totally worth it and there’s a lot of sightseeing to do on the way to Mtein. More details [here].

Weekend escape at Mir Amin Palace

The Chouf is one of the best-preserved and most beautiful areas in Lebanon. It boasts the biggest Cedars forest in Lebanon, historical palaces built by the Emirs of Lebanon, most notably the magnificent Beiteddine palace, as well as beautiful old Lebanese houses, monasteries and attractions. It’s the perfect getaway from the city, the noise and the pollution and the Mir Amin Palace Hotel is the ideal place to stay when you’re planning a weekend in the Chouf. More details [here].

Chill Grill Sunday at Pinea Campus
pinea A gorgeous campsite surrounded by a large stone pines forest and located in Haitoura area in Jezzine (South Lebanon). It’s a great spot for camping, enjoying outdoor activities like ATVing, Skeet/Trap shooting (Tiro), mountain biking, horseback riding and Hiking and chill grills on Sunday. Call 70 776 612 for more details or check [here].

Seafood at Chez Sami’s New Terrace:
Le desck Check out Chez Sami’s new terrace (Chez Sami Le Deck) and enjoy a splendid view while having the best seafood in town. More details [here].